Episode 637: Perhaps We Can Carve Out an Exception

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we tackle Pumpkin Spice Latte season, which comes earlier and earlier every year, and explain the essential qualities of pumpkin-ness.

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Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather don their Yoga Pants and undertake their annual pilgrimage to Starbucks for Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Just kidding, we don’t do any of that. But we do talk about what the pumpkin spices are, and carve into and excavate the seeds from the essence of pumpkin-ness — a fruit (!) phenomenon which is in equal parts comforting and confounding.

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6 Comments on “Episode 637: Perhaps We Can Carve Out an Exception”

  1. Dennis #

    This is the most LA topic ever


    • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

      More LA than New York? Or, like, Atlanta? I think the PSL is pretty close to a global phenomenon.


  2. Crystal #

    I can’t agree a gingerbread cookie is pumpkin spiced. Ginger is the primary spice. PSL are much lighter on the ginger.

    Pumpkin spice is a unique blend, but it is very close to a chai spice mix. I’ve had pumpkin spiced chai, and the difference is clear (though I’d have to look up the spice mix to give a breakdown. I want to say allspice is pumpkin spice exclusive), but where is the line? Are chai lattes also basic because women drink them, even if they are one of the most drunk lattes in the world?

    I don’t care for August PSL season, as my birthday is in late August, and I know it’s summer during my birthday. But I also find it strange that we act as if summer ends, at the latest, on Sept 1. Is this because so many schools start in August? (A fellow socal native, I always started school at least a week into Sept). Even if this is the case, it’s just not true. Summer is still strong through the first 2-3 weeks of September everywhere I’ve lived. It doesn’t really start to cool until late Sept. So why do we pretend as if it’s time to break out the boots earlier and earlier every year?


  3. John C Member #

    I tried posting a comment, but it seems to be in some sort of moderation limbo. The big issue (if I remember correctly) that I wanted to raise for discussion is that, for those of us who don’t drink coffee and don’t frequent craft shops, “pumpkin spice hysteria” only really manifests in think-pieces arguing about the proper way to hate it, ranging from “PS is a plague upon our land that must be destroyed” to “the author likes PS, so protest where nobody can see or hear you.”

    Something that didn’t occur to me, though, is that I’m surprised that Kellogg’s hasn’t gotten in on the pumpkin spice action, because they already have the framework to make a breakfast cereal in the Apple Jacks vein of “this doesn’t taste like pumpkin…”

    But if the jack o’lantern–a rotund, orange ghoul with no substance that juveniles attach their aspirations to, even long after it has started to rot and started to attract vermin–seems an apt metaphor for…I don’t know, something we need to consider throwing out after October ends. Ahem. I just can’t imagine what the metaphor would be about…


      • John C Member #

        I’ve never been able to get past the taste. Every once in a while, someone (in the days of meeting up with people and going to public places) offers up something mocha-flavored, and I can’t even manage it covered up with sugar and cocoa. There are a few things like that, where I look like some sort of moralizing nut, but the reality is that a bunch of alleged vices just taste foul to me…


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